Thursday, December 04, 2008

Judge? We Don' Need No Steeenking Judge...

It looks as if New York Giants star Plaxico Burress is headed for jail, not for shooting somebody (he shot himself, but isn't pressing charges), and not for carrying an unregistered handgun into a New York nightclub. Heck, he could not have registered that gun even if he had wanted to, since he is a New Jersey resident and New York does not issue permits to out-of-state residents, nor recognize "licensed-to-carry" permits from other states (he does have a Florida permit).

Plaxico Burress is going to jail because the state of New York doesn't trust it's judges, and that steams me.

Several years ago New York state decided to take the "judging" part out of judges hands when it comes to carrying an unregistered firearm by passing a law that gives a mandatory 3.5 year jail sentence for a first offense. Now I don't know if three and a half years is too much, too little, or just right for that particular crime, and I don't really care, that's not the issue. The issue is that if we are going to have judges, it should be up to the judge to judge, on a case by case basis, what an appropriate sentence is. That's why we give them the robe, the high desk, the gavel and all those law books. In England they give them funny wigs. If we aren't going to also let them pass judgment we might as well replace them all with trained parrots. Parrots would be just as effective, and would add some color to otherwise drab courtrooms.

New York state is not alone in short-circuiting the criminal justice system- I'd guess most states have a variety of mandatory sentencing laws these days, and they're all bad ideas. I'm sure it's true that there are some judges who, on occasion, hand out unfairly light sentences, which is what these laws are designed to prevent. But to take the discretion out of the hands of all judges simply because a few make a mistake from time to time is rather like taking a sledgehammer to your television because you don't like American Idol- it's briefly satisfying yet ultimately foolish.

This really has nothing whatsoever to do with Plaxico Burress- the man's an idiot who did a stupid thing and he's damn lucky he's not singing soprano today, after jamming a loaded, un-holstered gun into the waistband of his sweatpants at a crowded club. But is that worth 3.5 years in prison? I don't know, maybe it is and maybe it isn't. I do think that in the case of Plaxico Burress, and in every other case, it should be up to a judge to decide.


Anonymous said...

Nothing like shooting your own damn nuts off and going to prison over it.

Nobody will have to worry about bending over in the shower to pick up the soap when he is around. That's for sure!

Mike said...

Yeah, I don't like those mandatory sentencing laws either. I even hate that 3 strike law because you could commit 3 relatively minor crimes and wind up in jail taking up space ant he tax payers money.

In this particular case though, I think shooting himself and all the subsequent negative publicity may be punishment enough.

I've heard it really does hurt to shoot oneself.

Beach Bum said...

...after jamming a loaded, un-holstered gun into the waistband of his sweatpants at a crowded club. Then shoots himself.

This honestly sounds like something from the Simpsons or the Family Guy.

Malach the Merciless said...

Of course there is the whole other issues about Plaxico judgement, or lack thereof.

The Manic Street Preacher said...

Anybody with such a stupid name - Plaxico???? Sounds like a cheap furniture shop... - deserves to go to jail just for not getting himself a sensible name.

Oh.....yeah....Four Dinners...erm

Thomas said...

Who needs judges. Just lots of rope and tall trees, oops, you don't live in Texas.

Damn. You have tough gun laws. Here in Texas you can still shoot people with them, it is sport, as Darth Cheney.

Burress is already being punished a)he shot his own dumb assed self b)His first name is Plaxico.


Anonymous said...

would love to hear someone play devil's advocate with this one!

Colonel Colonel said...

PrePo: "Nothing like shooting your own damn nuts off and going to prison over it"

Didn't they make a movie about that in the '70s? oh yeah- 'Semi-Tough'.

Mike: 3 Strikes laws are also stupid. Why take all judging out of the judicial system?

Beach: True- how much lower can you go than having your life resemble a Simpson's episode?

Malach: There's no issue about Plaxico's judgment- I've got a bag full of walnuts in my cupboard that have more common sense than he does.

Manic: Here in America if you have a name like that we shower you with millions for playing a sport.

Thomas: Well, yeah, Texas is at another level with that stuff. And I'll bet very few Dallas Cowboys have shot themselves over the past few years.

Nerdgirl: Alternate viewpoint? Alternate viewpoint? Hmmm... an idea I had not thought of.

AngryMan said...

Plax 4ever.

Hungry Mother said...

Isn't it a sign of the Apocalypse when judges stop judging?

Hungry Mother said...

Isn't it a sign of the Apocalypse when judges stop judging?

Colonel Colonel said...

Angryman: Plax4ever would be a great license plate. Hey! He, now can make some!

HungryMo: Apocalypse, Repulicanism, yeah, all the same thing.